In this paper we respond to Benjamin Crowe's criticisms in this issue of our discussion of the grounds of worship. We clarify our previous position, and examine Crowe's account of what it is about God's nature that might ground our obligation to worship Him. We find Crowe's proposals no more persuasive than the accounts that we examined in our previous paper, and conclude that theists still owe us an account of what it is in virtue of which we have obligations (...) to worship God. (shrink)
Growing interest among historians and social scientists in the work of Karl Polanyi has yet to produce detailed historical studies of how Polanyi's work was received by his contemporaries. This article reconstructs the frustration of Polanyi's attempts to make a name for himself among English socialists between his arrival from Vienna in 1934 and his departure for New York in 1947. The most obvious explanation for Polanyi's failure to find a following was the socialist historians’ rejection of his unorthodox narrative (...) of the rise of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution in The Great Transformation. But this disappointment was anticipated in earlier exchanges revealing that Polanyi's social theory, specifically his conception of the self and its social relations, differed markedly from the views prevailing among socialists of R. H. Tawney and G. D. H. Cole's generation. As well as casting new light on the intellectual history of English socialism and variegating our understanding of the contexts in which conceptions of the human person were invoked in the interwar period, this article seeks to illuminate by example the importance of deep-seated, often tacit, commitments to particular conceptions of the self and its social relations in structuring mid-century intellectual life. (shrink)
Preface ix 1 Meaning and the Means to an Understanding of Ends 2 Why Is an Eye? 21 3 Adaptationism and Engineering 39 4 On Five "-Isms" 67 5 Function, Selection, and Explanation 87 6 Deflating Function 119 7 Artifacts and Organisms 139 References 167 Index 177.
The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
Tim Bayne draws on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience in defence of the claim that consciousness is unified. He develops an account of what it means to say that consciousness is unified, and then applies this account to a variety of cases - drawn from both normal and pathological forms of experience - in which the unity of consciousness is said to break down. He goes on to explore the implications of the unity of consciousness for theories of consciousness, for the (...) sense of embodiment, and for accounts of the self. The Unity of Consciousness draws on a wide range of findings within philosophy and the sciences of the mind to construct an account of the unity of consciousness that is both conceptually sophisticated and scientifically informed. (shrink)
In this work Tim Ingold provides a persuasive new approach to the theory behind our perception of the world around us. The core of the argument is that where we refer to cultural variation we should be instead be talking about variation in skill. Neither genetically innate or culturally acquired, skills are incorporated into the human organism through practice and training in an environment.They are as much biological as cultural.
Tim Button explores the relationship between minds, words, and world. He argues that the two main strands of scepticism are deeply related and can be overcome, but that there is a limit to how much we can show. We must position ourselves somewhere between internal realism and external realism, and we cannot hope to say exactly where.
Anthropology is a disciplined inquiry into the conditions and potentials of human life. Generations of theorists, however, have expunged life from their accounts, treating it as the mere output of patterns, codes, structures or systems variously defined as genetic or cultural, natural or social. Building on his classic work The Perception of the Environment, Tim Ingold sets out to restore life to where it should belong, at the heart of anthropological concern. Being Alive ranges over such themes as the vitality (...) of materials, what it means to make things, the perception and formation of the ground, the mingling of earth and sky in the weather-world, the experiences of light, sound and feeling, the role of storytelling in the integration of knowledge, and the potential of drawing to unite observation and description. Our humanity, Ingold argues, does not come ready-made but is continually fashioned in our movements along ways of life. Starting from the idea of life as a process of wayfaring, Ingold presents a radically new understanding of movement, knowledge and description as dimensions not just of being in the world, but of being alive to what is going on there. (shrink)
Tim Mulgan presents a penetrating examination of consequentialism: the theory that human behavior must be judged in terms of the goodness or badness of its consequences. The problem with consequentialism is that it seems unreasonably demanding, leaving us no room for our own aims and interests. In response, Mulgan offers his own, more practical version of consequentialism--one that will surely appeal to philosophers and laypersons alike.
Tim Lewens aims to understand what it means to take an evolutionary approach to cultural change, and why it is that these approaches are sometimes treated with suspicion. While making a case for the value of evolutionary thinking for students of culture, he shows why the concerns of sceptics should not dismissed as mere prejudice, confusion, or ignorance. Indeed, confusions about what evolutionary approaches entail are propagated by their proponents, as well as by their detractors. By taking seriously the problems (...) faced by these approaches to culture, he shows how such approaches can be better formulated, where their most significant limitations lie, and how the tools of cultural evolutionary thinking might become more widely accepted. (shrink)
Cet article s’interroge sur la manière dont la distinction entre soi et autrui – ainsi que les débats associés sur la partialité, l’altruisme et les exigences d’une morale – peut être amenée à être reformulée dans les différentes configurations de futurs possibles. L’article s’intéresse plus particulièrement aux cas où l’argumentation en faveur d’une partialité présente pourrait être remise en cause.
A sophisticated and original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics from one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics In this book, Tim Maudlin, one of the world’s leading philosophers of physics, offers a sophisticated, original introduction to the philosophy of quantum mechanics. The briefest, clearest, and most refined account of his influential approach to the subject, the book will be invaluable to all students of philosophy and physics. Quantum mechanics holds a unique place in the history of physics. (...) It has produced the most accurate predictions of any scientific theory, but, more astonishing, there has never been any agreement about what the theory implies about physical reality. Maudlin argues that the very term “quantum theory” is a misnomer. A proper physical theory should clearly describe what is there and what it does—yet standard textbooks present quantum mechanics as a predictive recipe in search of a physical theory. In contrast, Maudlin explores three proper theories that recover the quantum predictions: the indeterministic wavefunction collapse theory of Ghirardi, Rimini, and Weber; the deterministic particle theory of deBroglie and Bohm; and the conceptually challenging Many Worlds theory of Everett. Each offers a radically different proposal for the nature of physical reality, but Maudlin shows that none of them are what they are generally taken to be. (shrink)
This concise book introduces nonphysicists to the core philosophical issues surrounding the nature and structure of space and time, and is also an ideal resource for physicists interested in the conceptual foundations of space-time theory. Tim Maudlin's broad historical overview examines Aristotelian and Newtonian accounts of space and time, and traces how Galileo's conceptions of relativity and space-time led to Einstein's special and general theories of relativity. Maudlin explains special relativity using a geometrical approach, emphasizing intrinsic space-time structure rather than (...) coordinate systems or reference frames. He gives readers enough detail about special relativity to solve concrete physical problems while presenting general relativity in a more qualitative way, with an informative discussion of the geometrization of gravity, the bending of light, and black holes. Additional topics include the Twins Paradox, the physical aspects of the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction, the constancy of the speed of light, time travel, the direction of time, and more.Introduces nonphysicists to the philosophical foundations of space-time theory Provides a broad historical overview, from Aristotle to Einstein Explains special relativity geometrically, emphasizing the intrinsic structure of space-time Covers the Twins Paradox, Galilean relativity, time travel, and more Requires only basic algebra and no formal knowledge of physics. (shrink)
To understand the mind, we need to draw equally on the fields of cognitive science and neuroscience. But these two fields have very separate intellectual roots, and very different styles. So how can these two be reconciled in order to develop a full understanding of the mind and brain.This is the focus of this landmark new book.
Tim Crane addresses the ancient question of how it is possible to think about what does not exist. He argues that the representation of the non-existent is a pervasive feature of our thought about the world, and that to understand thought's representational power ('intentionality') we need to understand the representation of the non-existent.
The phenomenal character of perceptual experience involves the representation of colour, shape and motion. Does it also involve the representation of high-level categories? Is the recognition of a tomato as a tomato contained within perceptual phenomenality? Proponents of a conservative view of the reach of phenomenal content say ’No’, whereas those who take a liberal view of perceptual phenomenality say ’Yes’. I clarify the debate between conservatives and liberals, and argue in favour of the liberal view that high-level content can (...) directly inform the phenomenal character of perception. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy and phenomenology represent two major movements in the study of the mind. Both developed in the twentieth century, having roots that go back well before. Even though the two schools of thought have been in dialogue in the past, they are currently at an impasse. In this paper, I examine the origin of this impasse and suggest that at a crucial point in the conversation, right when the issues were clearly articulated and there was broad agreement on the (...) key questions, analytic philosophy abruptly changed the subject. Early analytic philosophers, like Carnap and Schlick, sought to establish a sharp distinction between the objective content of one’s claims and beliefs and what is merely subjective or perspectival. Phenomenologists denied this distinction. When efforts to defend the distinction failed, analytic philosophy took the distinction to be obvious and in no need of defense. I call this a shocking non sequitur. (shrink)
What do we owe to our descendants? How do we balance their needs against our own? Tim Mulgan develops a new theory of our obligations to future generations, based on a new rule-consequentialist account of the morality of individual reproduction. He also brings together several different contemporary philosophical discussions, including the demands of morality and international justice. His aim is to produce a coherent, intuitively plausible moral theory that is not unreasonably demanding, even when extended to cover future people. While (...) the book focuses on developing this new account, there are also substantial discussions of alternative views, especially contract-based accounts of intergenerational justice and competing forms of consequentialism. (shrink)
Neuropsychological results are increasingly cited in cognitive theories although their methodology has been severely criticised. The book argues for an eclectic approach but particularly stresses the use of single-case studies. A range of potential artifacts exists when inferences are made from such studies to the organisation of normal function – for example, resource differences among tasks, premorbid individual differences, and reorganisation of function. The use of “strong” and “classical” dissociations minimises potential artifacts. The theoretical convergence between findings from fields where (...) cognitive neuropsychology is well developed and those from the normal literature strongly suggests that the potential artifacts are not critical. The fields examined in detail in this respect are short-term memory, reading, writing, the organisation of input and output speech systems, and visual perception. Functional dissociation data suggest that not only are input systems organised modularly, but so are central systems. This conclusion is supported by findings on impairment of knowledge, visual attention, supervisory functions, memory, and consciousness. (shrink)
What does it mean to be a citizen in a multicultural society? And what role must patriotism play in defining our relationship with our country and fellow citizens? In The Virtuous Citizen Tim Soutphommasane answers these questions with a critical defence of liberal nationalism. Considering a range of contemporary political debates from Europe, North America and Australia, over issues including multiculturalism, national history, civic education and immigration, Soutphommasane argues that a love of country should be valued alongside tolerance, mutual respect (...) and public reasonableness as a civic virtue. A liberal form of patriotism, grounded in national identity, is, if anything, essential for political stability in a diverse society. This book is required reading not only for political theorists and philosophers but also for researchers and professionals in political science, sociology, history and public policy. (shrink)
Abstract The only biologically respectable notion of human nature is an extremely permissive one that names the reliable dispositions of the human species as a whole. This conception offers no ethical guidance in debates over enhancement, and indeed it has the result that alterations to human nature have been commonplace in the history of our species. Aristotelian conceptions of species natures, which are currently fashionable in meta-ethics and applied ethics, have no basis in biological fact. Moreover, because our folk psychology (...) finds this misleading Aristotelian conception highly tempting, we are in fact better off if we refrain from mentioning human nature altogether in debates over enhancement. Content Type Journal Article Category Special Issue Pages 1-16 DOI 10.1007/s13347-012-0063-x Authors Tim Lewens, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge, CB2 3RH UK Journal Philosophy & Technology Online ISSN 2210-5441 Print ISSN 2210-5433. (shrink)
Interpreting Herbert Spencer's political philosophy in the light of persistent criticism that it contains a fundamental contradiction between political individualism and social organicism, this work examines and explains the apparent tensions within his philosophy.
Desires move us to action, give us urges, incline us to joy at their satisfaction, and incline us to sorrow at their frustration. Naturalistic work on desire has focused on distinguishing which of these phenomena are part of the nature of desire, and which are merely normal consequences of desiring. Three main answers have been proposed. The first holds that the central necessary fact about desires is that they lead to action. The second makes pleasure the essence of desire. And (...) the third holds that the central necessary fact about desires is that they open us to reward-based learning. (shrink)
In some cases, you may release someone from some obligation they have to you. For instance, you may release them from a promise they made to you, or an obligation to repay money they have borrowed from you. But most take it as clear that, if you have an obligation to someone else, you cannot in any way release yourself from that obligation. I shall argue the contrary. The issue is important because one standard problem for the idea of having (...) duties to oneself relies on the impossibility of self-release. The argument is that a duty to oneself would be a duty from which one could release oneself, but that this is an absurdity, and so there can be no duties to oneself. This argument is to be rejected because a duty from which one can release oneself is perfectly possible, and such release occurs quite properly from time to time. (shrink)
I argue that attempts to give philosophical accounts of meaningfulness in life are largely empty since there is no unitary concept to be analysed, and there are no criteria for what will count as success in that project. I suggest that there is a better prospect for giving an account of meaninglessness in life, and that efforts are more usefully directed at this project. I then offer such an account in which it is proposed that what often (but not always) (...) underlies feelings that life is meaningless is a matter of the person concerned finding nothing worth doing, pursuing or aspiring to; that is, their finding nothing to be of value. The account is then modified and expanded, and is found to usefully explain the phenomena of anhedonia, distress and failure of motivation frequently associated with feelings of meaninglessness. The account is not intended as a conceptual analysis, but as an explanation of what is (often) happening when people find life meaningless. The paper concludes with discussions of what may be said about meaningfulness in the light of the offered account of meaninglessness, and of the distinction between life being felt to be meaningless, and life actually being meaningless. (shrink)
First published in 1997, this book discusses the interplaying factors environmental issues have on justice and property and other social problems. Endeavouring create a discourse on what sustainability means in implementation, each of the contributors to this book approaches this via different theoretical viewpoints.
Two familiar worldviews dominate Western philosophy: materialist atheism and the benevolent God of the Abrahamic faiths. Tim Mulgan explores a third way. Ananthropocentric Purposivism claims that there is a cosmic purpose, but human beings are irrelevant to it. Purpose in the Universe develops a philosophical case for Ananthropocentric Purposivism that it is at least as strong as the case for either theism or atheism. He draws on a range of secular and religious ethical traditions to conclude that a non-human-centred cosmic (...) purpose can ground a distinctive human morality. Our moral practices, our view of the moral universe, and our moral theory are all transformed if we shift from the familiar choice between a universe without meaning and a universe where humans matter to the less self-aggrandising thought that, while it is about something, the universe is not about us. (shrink)
Much recent work on the ethics of new biomedical technologies is committed to hidden, contestable views about the nature of biological reality. This selection of essays by Tim Lewens explores and scrutinises these biological foundations, and includes work on human enhancement, synthetic biology, and justice in healthcare decision-making.
In this ingenious and powerfully argued book Tim Maudlin sets out a novel account of logic and semantics which allows him to deal with certain notorious paradoxes which have bedevilled philosophical theories of truth. All philosophers interested in logic and language will find this a stimulating read.
I call into question a pair of closely related assumptions that are almost universally shared in the literature on predicates of taste. The assumptions are, first, that predicates of taste – words like ‘tasty’ – are semantically evaluative. In other words, that it is part of the meaning of a word like ‘tasty’ to describe an object as in some sense good, or to say that it is pleasing. And second, that the meaning of predicates of taste is in some (...) way relativized to an experiencer or standard – the person that the object is pleasing to or the standard according to which the object is good. Parties to the literature on these terms tend to disagree about the role of context in determining the truth of claims involving predicates of taste, or in determining which proposition is expressed. But they agree that to call some dish ‘tasty’ is to say something positive about that dish, to suggest that someone or other finds, or is disposed to find, the dish pleasing. I suggest instead that ‘tasty’, and indeed... (shrink)
In his well-known time travel story, David Lewis claims that there is a sense in which Tim can go back in time and kill his Grandfather and a (more inclusive) sense in which he cannot. Lewis describes Tim’s predicament as semi-fatalist, but holds that this does not compromise Tim’s freedom or his ability to kill Grandfather. I argue that if semi-fatalism is true of Tim, it is true of everyone, and that this is a troubling conclusion.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of calls for moral education to receive greater public attention. In our pluralist society, however, it is difficult to find agreement on what exactly moral education requires. Philosophical Discussion in Moral Education develops a detailed philosophical defence of the claim that teachers should engage students in ethical discussions to promote moral competence and strengthen moral character. Paying particular attention to the teacher's role, this book highlights the justification for, and (...) methods of, creating a classroom community of ethical inquiry. (shrink)
The phenomenology of agency has, until recently, been rather neglected, overlooked by both philosophers of action and philosophers of consciousness alike. Thankfully, all that has changed, and of late there has been an explosion of interest in what it is like to be an agent. 1 This burgeoning field crosses the traditional boundaries between disciplines: philosophers of psychopathology are speculating about the role that unusual experiences of agency might play in accounting for disorders of thought and action; cognitive scientists are (...) developing models of how the phenomenology of agency is generated; and philosophers of mind are drawing connections between the phenomenology of agency and the nature of introspection, phenomenal character, and agency itself. My aim in this paper is not to provide an exhaustive survey of this recent literature, but to provide a.. (shrink)